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Sister Michaeline O’Dwyer

by RSHM Eastern American AreaCategory: Obituaries10 Comments

Sr. michaelien o'dwyer short brown hair, glasses, salmon colored jacket white scoop neck blouse silver cross pin

Sister Michaeline O’Dwyer, RSHM, died at Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, NY, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. She was 86 years of age and had been a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary for 67 years.

She was born Mary Jane O’Dwyer in New York City, NY, on September 24, 1936, to John and Helen Hayes O’Dwyer.

She received a BA in Biology and English from Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY; an MS in Biology from Fordham University, Bronx, NY; and an RN from Marymount University, Arlington, VA.

After graduating from the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Park Terrace, NYC, she entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary at the RSHM Novitiate in Tarrytown, NY, on September 8, 1954. She made her first vows on April 1, 1956, in Tarrytown, where she also made her final vows on August 28, 1961.

She was assigned to teach third and fourth grade at St. Andrew’s School, Sag Harbor, NY (1956-1959). From there, she moved to Garden City, NY, where she taught fifth grade at St. Anne’s School (1959-1961). She returned to Sag Harbor, where she taught at the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary for a short time, before becoming a full-time student at Fordham University, Bronx, NY (1961-1963).

After completing her MS in Biology, Sr. Michaeline went to Marymount Junior College of VA (now Marymount University) in Arlington, VA, where she taught and also earned an RN (1963-1970).

She spent many years in Rome at Marymount International School Rome, Italy, as teacher, housemother, and nurse (1970-1976) and as principal (1976-1984).  

After a sabbatical at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA, she stayed there working in public relations and publications before becoming Director of Foundation Giving and Public Relations (1984-1997).

She served the RSHM Eastern American Area as Provincial Secretary (1997-2003) and Provincial Councilor (2003-2009).

She moved to England to become the interim headmistress of Marymount International School, London (2009-2010). She returned to Rome to live at Marymount International School. From there she served all of the RSHM schools in Europe. In Rome, she was school administrator of Istituto Marymount (2012-2013) and worked with alumni of Marymount International School. She spent a year in France as the temporary head of Marymount International School, Paris (2017-2018). She was a Board member of Istituto Marymount, MIS Paris, and MIS London.

In 2018, after many years of keeping contact and working with the alumni wherever she was living, she was named alumni coordinator of Marymount International School, Rome. She served in this position until 2022.

She moved to Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, NY in 2022 and was a member of the Convent community at the time of her death.

Sister Michaeline is predeceased by her parents, her sister Kathleen, and brother Michael. She is survived by her sisters Joan and Evelyn, her brother Edward, nieces and nephews, and by the members of her RSHM family.                                                   

Services at Marymount Convent, 32 Warren Avenue, Tarrytown, NY. Visiting Monday, July 17, 4:00 – 7:00 pm with a Vigil Service at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial, Tuesday, July 18, 10:30 am. Burial Mount Calvary Cemetery, White Plains.

We invite you to join us for the live-streamed Vigil Service and Mass of Christian Burial on our website (, where it will be archived.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her name may be made to Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, 50 Wilson Park Drive, Tarrytown, NY, 10591.

10 thoughts on “Sister Michaeline O’Dwyer”

  1. Avatar

    She was loved, and respected by so many young girls at MMI in Rome. Her impact on our lives will be remembered and will live with us forever. I would like to attend to pay my respects. Sr. Michaeline was my headmistress at MMI in Rome from 1976-1980. Are the services open to the public?
    Thank you
    Sandra (Sardelli) Rasmussen

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    Julie Anne Warrington

    She was one of the nicest people that I came to know when I was a student at Marymount ROME in the 70’s.
    May Sr. Michaeline Rest In Peace.

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    Pamela Gilbert Rieth

    Thank you Sr.Michaeline for your kindness as housemother when we were strangers in a strange land, so far from our families. Thank you for all you did to keep alumni connected and informed. Thank you for your wonderful example of how to live an authentic Catholic Christian life. Most of all, thank you for your prayers through the years and now, from heaven. You will stay in our prayers, too.

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    My deepest condolences for the loss of Sister Michaeline. I knew her in Rome 1975-76.

    RIP Sister ,

    Flavia Callari

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    Love Sister Michaeline dearly! I pray for her and her loved ones. May God welcome her with all the love she gave to us!
    Forever grateful. Katherine
    Class of 1973

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    Michaeline was a beautiful person and friend during the years we were together in Berkeley. She was ever helpful in many ways, and I want to extend my sympathy to all in the community

    John R Donahue, S..J.

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    In unison with the RSHM, I pray with you in mourning, but also knowing that Sr. Michaeline in in a wonderful place!

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    I was so saddened to read the news of Sister Michaeline’s passing.
    She was an amazing woman.
    I was a boarder, starting in 8th grade til senior graduation…1970 to 1975. Sister was always kind and caring. She would encourage and guide me. We lost touch a bit during my college years but resumed communicating soon thereafter….letters, phone calls, emails and visits.
    I looked up to Sister Michaeline in every way. She was a huge part of my life.
    I will miss her…but know she is with the Lord in heaven and with the family and friends that have gone before…she is healthy again and at peace.

  9. Avatar

    Oh Sr. Michaeline!
    A wonderful lady, I had the great pleasure and privilege to work alongside her as a parent during her time as interim headmistress at Marymount London. I know I speak for many when I say we wanted her to be permanent! Her faith, grace and strength with all those she interacted with was always so positively commented on.
    For me personally, she had such a fun sense of humour and so dry! I distinctly remember doing some PA work with other staff members in a large office where she came by for a chat and at the end she said :” right, so now I’m off to pray for all you sinners!” It went dead silent but I piped up : “ Oh Sr. Michaeline thank you!” And we both burst out laughing! No one else could tell if she was serious.
    Finally, I fondly remember her beautifully handwritten thank you note, that was so personal to me. I still have it.

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